Recently, I watched a team of people agree to start an initiative that they didn’t necessarily believe in. Their boss was so passionate about the topic that the team didn’t have the heart to tell him that his idea was probably too lofty and most likely unattainable. In the weeks that followed, I watched that initiative fall apart. What a waste…or was it?
A couple of weeks after the new initiative was setup, the team rallied together to let the boss know that after careful consideration, they believed that new initiative may have to be postponed and likely altered to match the reality of the resources available.
Unfortunately, at that point, the boss viewed this coup as them not following through. So, he pushed back from their push-back.
The team doubled down and tried again to make it happen. Their renewed energy was met with a brick wall.
Were there a lack of resources and time? Probably. But I believe that this result was just as much due to a lack of belief in the end goal.
What Went Wrong?
Ultimately, this was a communication problem:
Could the boss have presented this idea differently in order to gain buy in from the team?
Could the team have been more detailed in their concerns with implementing such a grand idea?
Could they have found a way to get behind the end goal if everything had been flushed out?
All are likely true. However, one thing is for sure:
“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.” -Tony Robbins
Failure Invites Criticism
Think about it. Every time there is a failure of some kind, there is a tendency to find fault. Who did it wrong? Who didn’t do it right?
It’s at this point that the true character of everyone involved is unmasked. In a perfect world, humility in the leader would cause him to question what he could have done differently. Respect for the leader from the team would cause them to admit that they held back their reservations.
The ironic thing is that if the leader and team are able to find this common ground, then the whole thing is not actually a failure! They are stronger because of this experience. They now have better communication skills, trust, and understanding of what it will take to move things forward.
This isn’t much different than a relationship with a friend, spouse, or family member:
“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” Dolly Parton
Question: What storms have come your way that have lead to deeper roots in your team?